Local trails enthusiast attends statewide gathering

    Doug Milligan of Geneva, a founding member of South Adams Trails Inc., recently attended a large gathering of people from various trail groups around Indiana.
    The event, called a Bike and Pedestrian Trail Network Summit, was held at Carmel and drew some 65 people, Milligan said. Each of the representatives of local groups was allowed to describe the trail in his or her area.
    The meeting was sponsored by the state Department of Natural Resources, the Indiana Park and Recreation Association, the Indiana Department of Health, and the National Park Service.
    Real estate values, especially home values, increase 20 percent when homes are within one mile of a trail, Mi’Chelle Bettner of the Indiana Park and Recreation Association told the group attending.
    It was also noted that 96 percent of all Indiana residents live within 7.5 miles, or 15 minutes, of a trail.
    The mayor of Carmel welcomed the guests and said trails not only add value to a community, but also provide safe places to exercise, especially in highly-trafficked areas, and make communities more attractive for businesses as they seek to locate.
    Such meetings are planned annually, according to Milligan.
    Other groups attending were Bicycle Indiana, Indiana Trails Fund, Hoosier Rails to Trails, and the Greenways Foundation. A total of 16 trail groups, nine cities or towns, and nine state agencies or organizations were represented.
    Some locations in Indiana have trail systems more than 50 miles long, it was pointed out.
    South Adams Trails Inc. was organized a few years ago and will link Geneva, where Milligan is a town council member, and Berne with a hiking and biking trail, then the group hopes to expand the system gradually.